Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to global cybersecurity.
Data breaches and hacking events are on the rise, according to the record-setting numbers of incidents tracked by the Identity Theft Resource Center. A new study, though, has narrowed down the scope of the crime to discover that ransomware is one of the single biggest threats, growing to a global crisis that increased by 50% over last year.
Verizon’s annual data breach report found the increase, as well as analyzed the major routes of attack for both businesses and consumers. Ransomware attacks were initially a major problem for “big fish” who had a lot to lose when it came to a data breach. Hospitals and medical facilities in particular were lucrative targets, as they were considered quite likely to pay up rather than face fines over patient confidentiality and lawsuits due to disruption in patient care. Later, schools also fell into the criminals’ cross hairs, largely due to confidentiality and things like end of the term reporting requirements, final exams, and financial aid submissions.
Verizon’s report found that consumers are still a target, but that their attackers tend to set to work collecting the ransom almost immediately. You click the wrong thing, your system locks up, and the warning from the hacker instructs you to pay up. Businesses, on the other hand, have now been found to be long-term, silent victims; ransomware is still the tool, but the hackers work their way and make sure they’re infecting every level of the company’s network before making their presence known.
According to a BBC report on Verizon’s data, “Darren Thomson, chief technology officer for Symantec in Europe, said its statistics suggest about one in every 131 email messages was now harboring some kind of cyber-threat.” Furthermore, Symantec found that the average amount paid by victims of ransomware had grown to $1,077.
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